Photos courtesy NHRA

NHRA stunner: U.S. Army to end sponsorship of Don Schumacher Racing, NHRA after this season

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In a stunning announcement, the National Hot Rod Association and Don Schumacher Racing revealed Sunday that the U.S. Army, which has been one of the sport’s largest and most high-profile primary sponsors for nearly 20 years, will end its relationship with both the sport and team after this season.

The Army has been primary sponsor for eight-time Top Fuel champ Tony Schumacher for nearly two decades, co-primary sponsor on Antron Brown’s Top Fuel dragster for nearly a decade, and became a part-time primary sponsor this season for Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett.

All three drivers race for DSR.

Here’s the official announcement:

U.S. ARMY REDIRECTING ITS MARKETING EFFORTS FOR 2019
BROWNSBURG, Ind. (July 8, 2018) – The U.S. Army has decided not to renew its sponsorship with Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) and the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) due to a reallocation of its marketing budget. DSR is actively pursuing a strong brand to partner with the team and its roster of sponsors and personalities who have contributed to 325 NHRA national event titles and 16 championships.
“The U.S. Army has been a great partner of Don Schumacher Racing for nearly two decades,” said team owner Don Schumacher. “It has been a mutually beneficial relationship with the U.S. Army instilling the mental, physical and emotional strength of the U.S. Army Soldier in all of us. We remain extremely proud of our representation of the U.S. Army and its brave Soldiers who are 100 percent committed to our country. We will continue to activate on behalf of the U.S. Army for the remainder of 2018 while showcasing our acumen to future partners looking to inject their brand with the power and precision that has earned DSR more than 320 wins and 16 championships.”
“The U.S. Army has been an incredibly loyal and longtime supporter of NHRA Championship Drag Racing and we are sad to see them go, especially during a time in which NHRA is experiencing so much success,” said NHRA president Glen Cromwell. “One of the most significant elements of our partnership with the U.S. Army has been its sponsorship of NHRA’s Youth and Education Services program, which hosts approximately 30,000 high school students each year across the country and will continue to do so. Not only does this program serve our communities by inspiring students to pursue STEM-related career opportunities, but it also acts as a powerful recruiting tool for vocational education programs.
“The NHRA Mello Yello Series reaches millions of fans each year at its 24 national events which are each broadcast on FOX Sports. We’ve had seven sellout days so far this season and all of our metrics are up. We are excited about NHRA’s future and look forward to welcoming new partners to our sport.”
The U.S. Army’s current commitments will remain through 2018.

Ka-boom! NHRA Funny Car driver Cruz Pedregon blows up brand new car body

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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Former NHRA Funny Car champ Cruz Pedregon was a happy man coming into Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Dodge NHRA Mile-High Nationals in Morrison, Colorado (a suburb of Denver).

The reason Pedregon was feeling good was he had a brand new Toyota Camry body atop his Funny Car chassis. It was state of the art, it looked fast and it was prepared to run fast.

And everything really looked good as soon as Pedregon hit the gas in his qualifying run vs. Tim Wilkerson.

Well, for a few seconds, that is.

As the two drivers hurtled down the 1,000-foot drag strip, Pedregon’s brand new body was destroyed in a massive explosion.

Fortunately, Pedregon was uninjured.

Check out the big ka-boom: